Everyone faces bad breath at some point in their lives. Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can occur for various reasons and may even indicate an underlying health condition. Bad breath might be a temporary issue or become chronic. Nearly 50 percent of adults have experienced halitosis in their lifetime.
Let’s talk about the most common cause of bad breath - food. The breakdown of food particles around your gums and teeth can raise the level of bacteria and provoke a foul odor. Consuming certain foods may be the root culprit of bad breath. After you digest certain foods, they enter your bloodstream, are carried to your lungs, and impact your breath. We’ve collected the most common bad breath-triggers some of which people consume regularly:
You probably know that garlic and onions can provoke bad breath, but don’t forget that they are the easily forgotten ingredients of this colorful condiment. Most recipes of salsa include onions or garlic, either minced or in powdered form. Even a few bites can provoke a foul odor.
This Greek dish contains Fatty lamb meat, feta cheese, smelly onions, and acidic tomatoes. Every ingredient in a gyro can contribute to bad breath. To avoid it, chew sugarless gum after you’re done eating.
When amino acids that are found in cheese and other dairy foods react with your mouth bacteria, they produce volatile sulfur compounds that can lead to an unpleasant odor. People with lactose intolerance should be especially careful. Since these people lack the enzyme responsible for the break of lactose, consuming dairy products causes a buildup of amino acids and, as a result, even more, bad-smelling sulfur compounds.
The main function of saliva is to wash away bacteria out of your mouth. Caffeine tends to slow saliva production which allows bacteria to multiply and produce foul-smelling gases. So-called “coffee breath” is at its worst in the morning, since you also produce less saliva during sleeping. After you knock back that wake-you-up mug of java, it’s a good idea to brush your teeth and grab a water bottle for the road. Getting professional teeth cleaning regularly is also essential for coffee lovers.
Alcohol triggers dehydration, which eventually decreases saliva production making it easier for bacteria to multiply in your mouth. Additionally, red wine can leave a coating on your teeth for bacteria to latch onto. Consuming water regularly while you’re out on the town will help you keep your body hydrated and rinses away stray, stinky bacteria on your tongue.
Some scientists suggest that curry can help reduce bad breath since it contains essential oils that are also contained in American mouthwashes. But according to a 2004 study from the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, these oils are not as effective at reducing bad breath after all. Moreover, the strong spices in curry will leave your breath pungent. A good rule of thumb: The stronger the smell, the more likely that food will make your breath stink.
Red meats are loaded with protein, which is also made of amino acids. Just like dairy, these nutrients react with oral bacteria and since meat contains more protein than dairy, steak generates even more sulfuric compounds than a slice of Swiss cheese.
The Bottom Line
If you noticed you still have bad breath after you excluded culprits, it’s important to seek medical attention. Persistent bad breath might be a sign of some serious medical conditions therefore it requires proper examinations.